How China's Communist Party Endures

China's Communist Party: Atrophy and Adaptation by David Shambaugh (University of California Press, 2008)

NEW YORK, May 12, 2008 – China is fast becoming a world power, both as a result of its economic growth and its political and financial investments. How has it become so strong when most other Leninist states have collapsed, and what challenges must it confront in order to stay in power? As a means of addressing these and other questions, Asia Society hosted the launch of David Shambaugh's new book, China's Communist Party: Atrophy and Adaptation, in partnership with the National Committee on US-China Relations.

Director of the China Policy Program at George Washington University's Elliot School of International Affairs, Shambaugh described how China carefully studies failed Leninist states in order to avoid a similar fate—while at the same time it scrutinizes successful non-Communist states like Singapore in order to learn what features it can adopt to ensure its own survival. That said, Shambaugh suggested, with China displaying characteristics of both a Leninist state and a newly industrialized country (NIC), its Communist Party will eventually feel more of the pressures associated with being an NIC, forcing China to evolve beyond a one-party state.

Later, in conversation with Stephen A. Orlins, president of the National Committee of US-China Relations, Shambaugh argued that the CCP also still needs to address China's high levels of corruption, its lack of investment in public goods, and the chronic suppression of NGOs if it is going to survive.

Reported by Azadeh Fartash

Excerpt: China goes global (4 min., 46 sec.)
David Shambaugh answers an audience question regarding China's role in the global arena and whether other countries, both in Asia and the rest of the world, see it as a model worth emulating.



Listen to the complete program (1 hr., 30 min.)